Party Without the Pitfalls: Masterful Mocktails in Ottawa

At the beginning of every year, plenty of talk surrounds Dry January, an encouraging health campaign where people opt to cut booze out of their lives for the entire month. Given that studies show drinking in excess is linked to all sorts of health risks like breast cancer and heart disease, it’s no wonder that so many people are eager to jump on this health conscious bandwagon. But the majority end up falling right back into old habits once the month is over and alcohol fueled activities are right around the corner again, like Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Spring Break. A relationship with alcohol is tricky for some people (hi!), so whether complete sobriety is something you’re seriously considering, or you just want a fun night out minus the excruciating hangover the next day, you’ve still got the option of meeting up for drinks at some really trendy spots in Ottawa that are on both their cocktail and mocktail game. Because having fun without alcohol is totally possible. So why not start with a pretty drink!

Try a signature cocktail like Matty’s Calling (Portobello Road Gin/Tio Pepe Fino/Orange and Grapefruit Bitters/Lemon) minus the highproof spirits.  

Bar Laurel

Tucked along the ever trendy streets of Wellington West, Bar Laurel is aptly named after Calle del Laurel in Logrono (Rioja, Spain), a street that is famous for pinchos, tapas and wine. With extensive seasonal cocktails, a comprehensive wine list, and an interesting focus on Sherry, there’s no shortage of alcohol filled drinks to choose from. But the bartenders are equally as versed and passionate about mixing a good mocktail. Once you choose from any of their signature cocktails on the menu, using Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits they’ll create a delicious masterpiece free of any of those highproof liquors.


Not only does Jackson offer a killer brunch, but they incorporate true artistry into their signature cocktail menu where drinks are named after and inspired by actual works of art in the OAG. And since they put such a huge focus on plant based choices, there are always options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets, including a botanical based alternative to the ever popular egg white used to give your drink a rich and creamy texture. They also love making mocktails for those who want the taste without the booze – simply communicate your preference, whether sweet, sour, or salty, and they’ll whip something up exactly to your liking.

They sub out the alcohol but keep all the good stuff at Headquarters


This spot is aesthetically on point – and serves as a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, and hair salon all at the same time. If you’re looking for a spot to grab a delicious drink and snap an insta-worthy photo, this is the perfect place. A popular location for weekend brunch, they provide a comprehensive hand crafted cocktail menu, and they can easily transform your choice into a mocktail for half the price. As a kickstart to Spring, try the Water-Melancholy where they sub out the Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum but keep the good stuff like Jalapeno Cane Syrup, fresh lime juice, watermelon wedges, lime slices, and watermelon slices.